309: Lee Cronin | Chemical Evolution, Philosophy, View Of Time, Perspective, And More

Welcome to episode 309 of the show, with our guest being Professor Lee Cronin of The University of Glasgow. This was a special episode returning to in-person material, and we discussed a variety of topics including philosophy, physics, reduction, emergence, chemistry, and time. It was very enjoyable and informative to take part in this discussion.

Professor Cronin went to “the University of York where he completed both a degree and PhD in Chemistry and then on to do post docs in Edinburgh and Germany before becoming a lecturer at the Universities of Birmingham, and then Glasgow where he has been since 2002 working up the ranks to become the Regius Professor of Chemistry in 2013 aged 39.

He has one of the largest multidisciplinary chemistry-based research teams in the world, having raised over $35 M in grants and current income of $15 M. He has given over 300 international talks and has authored over 350 peer reviewed papers with recent work published in Nature, Science, and PNAS. He and his team are trying to make artificial life forms, find alien life, explore the digitization of chemistry, understand how information can be encoded into chemicals and construct chemical computers.”

You can check out his lab profile page, Wikipedia, and research.

308: Carey Gillam | An Agrochemical Lawsuit Detailed In “The Monsanto Papers”

Investigative journalist Carey Gillam joins the show on episode #308, and we discuss her recent book The Monsanto Papers: Deadly Secrets, Corporate Corruption, and One Man’s Search for Justice.

From her bio: “Carey Gillam is an American investigative journalist and author with more than 30 years of experience covering food and agricultural policies and practices, including 17 years as a senior correspondent for Reuters international news service. She has specialty knowledge regarding the rise of biotech crop technology and the associated rise in pervasive pesticide use in our farming and food production system. Gillam has won several industry awards for her work and been recognized as a leading global expert on corruption in the agricultural chemical industry. Her first book Whitewash- The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer and the Corruption of Science was released in October 2017 and won the coveted Rachel Carson Book Award from the Society of Environmental Journalists as well as two other literary awards.”

The Monsanto Papers is the inside story of Lee Johnson’s landmark lawsuit against Monsanto. For Lee, the case was a race against the clock, with doctors predicting he wouldn’t survive long enough to take the witness stand. For the eclectic band of young, ambitious lawyers representing him, it was a matter of professional pride and personal risk, with millions of dollars and hard-earned reputations on the line. For the public at large, the lawsuit presented a question of corporate accountability. With enough money and influence, could a company endanger its customers, hide evidence, manipulate regulators, and get away with it all—for decades?”

You can find more about Carey on her website, or check out The Monsanto Papers on Amazon.

307: Rebecca Schwarzlose | The Maps Inside Our Mind Detailed In “Brainscapes”

Are there detailed maps of representations of sights, sounds, and action held in our brain? Postdoctoral scholar Rebecca Schwarlose joins us to discuss this topic and more from her latest book Brainscapes: The Warped, Wondrous Maps Written in Your Brain―And How They Guide You.

Rebecca Schwarzlose is a neuroscientist at Washington University in Saint Louis. She holds a PhD in Neuroscience from MIT and has served as chief editor of the scholarly journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

Rebecca’s research investigates how minds and brains conceptualize complex natural phenomena and generate a mental inventory of meaningful objects, actions, and social groups. Her doctoral research focused on the neural representation of crucial object categories such as human faces and bodies and the overarching organization of category information in the brain.  Her current research investigates the neural bases for atypical sensory processing and prediction in childhood and their relations to psychopathology.

Brainscapes was supported by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology.

306: Caleb Scharf | How Content And Data Has Expanded In “The Ascent Of Information”

Data and information hits at the heart of what is growing over time in the public domain. Dr. Caleb Scharf, Director of Astrobiology at Columbia University , covers this topic from books to bits in his latest book The Ascent Of Information: Books, Bits, Genes, Machines, and Life’s Unending Algorithm. He joins on episode 306 of The Armen Show Podcast with me, your host Armen Shirvanian.

From his bio: “Caleb Scharf works in the fields of exoplanetary science and astrobiology, and writes extensively about science for a popular audience. Exoplanetary science is devoted to the discovery and characterization of planets around other stars, and understanding the formation, histories, and properties of these planets. One ultimate goal of this research is to find planets that could harbor recognizable life, and to detect the presence of that life—an effort that falls under the banner of astrobiology.”

You can find The Ascent of Information on Amazon, or check out Dr. Scharf’s website for more.

305: Annie Murphy Paul | Ways To Enhance Our Thinking In “The Extended Mind”

Author and science writer Annie Murphy Paul joins on episode 305 of the show to discuss her latest book The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain. Her book is about tapping into the intelligence that exists outside of the brain, and using the environment and world around us to propel our thinking.

This is a category that has always been important to me because activities and understanding that propels thinking into more creative realms is essential in the making of great material. If we don’t use all tools at our disposal, we are limiting the amount of material we can put out there, which will then inspire other material.

“Annie Murphy Paul is an acclaimed science writer whose work has appeared in the New York TimesScientific American, and The Best American Science Writing, among many other publications. She is the author of OriginsThe Cult of Personality, and now The Extended Mind.”

You can check out Annie’s website or her latest book on Amazon.

304: Jan Eeckhout | The Impact Of Market Power On Workers In “The Profit Paradox”

What impact are the top companies having on the market and workers around the world? Does grabbing control of the market limit the ability of others to rise up just as smoothly? Economics Professor Jan Eeckhout of Pompeu Fabra University in Spain joins us on episode 304 of the show to discuss these topics and more from his book The Profit Paradox: How Thriving Firms Threaten the Future of Work.

From his bio: “Jan Eeckhout is ICREA Research Professor at Universitat Pompeu Fabra,  Barcelona GSE Research Professor, and Professor of Economics at University College London. He has teaching and research interests in Macroeconomics, with a special emphasis on the labor market. He studies unemployment, labor market risk, skill diversity, inequality in cities, and the macroeconomic implications of market power.”

“Professor Eeckhout’s work has been published in the American Economic Review, Econometrica, the Review of Economic Studies, the Journal of Political Economy, and has been supported by several government grants, including funding from the National Science Foundation (US) and the European Research Council (Starting and Advanced Grants), as well as private grants. His work has featured in the media, including outlets such as The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, Vox, and Bloomberg. He has advised over 30 PhD students who have placed in academic positions from Yale to Chicago and from Beijing to Canberra, as well as in non-academic positions.”

You can check out Professor Eeckhout’s material on Twitter, on his faculty page, or on his Google Scholar articles page. You can also check out The Profit Paradox on Amazon.

303: Azra Raza, Bill Sullivan & Dan Cable | Chance Meetings

Welcome to a special edition of the show – Episode #303 featuring a panel of three past guests returning on the topic of Chance Meetings. My three guests here are Professor Bill Sullivan of the Indiana University School of Medicine, Dr. Azra Raza of Columbia University, and Professor Dan Cable of London Business School.

The topic of chance meetings was selected because of the value of those serendipitous moments that connect us with someone who branches our life in a certain direction. Before we met them, we were situated in some form, and after we met those key individuals, we were directed in a path that we lived for years and decades.

302: Adam Rogers | The Science And Modernization Of Color In “Full Spectrum”

Welcome to episode 302 of the show, with guest Adam Rogers, author of the book Full Spectrum: How The Science Of Color Made Us Modern. The world of color, as applied to usage and products for people, has developed over centuries of time. Adam takes us through the history, stories of where resource mining created basis for color, and some applications of color along the way.

Adam Rogers is the New York Times best-selling author of Proof: The Science of Booze, which was a finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award and won the IACP Award for Best Wine, Beer or Spirits Book as well as the Gourmand Award for Best Spirits Book in the United States.

You can check out Full Spectrum on IndieBound, follow Adam on Twitter, or check out his articles on WIRED.

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301: John Rhodes | Immunological Research And Processes In “How To Make A Vaccine”

Immunology and epidemiology have served as two very important fields this past year, as the world has responded to a virus. UK-based international expert in immunology John Rhodes joins us on episode 301 to discuss his recent book How To Make A Vaccine: An Essential Guide For COVID-19 & Beyond. We cover the research behind vaccines, safety testing, types of vaccines, and more.

From his biography, Dr. Rhodes was educated at the Cambridge Grammar School and University College London. After graduating in zoology he held research fellowships at the US National Institutes of Health in Washington, DC, and the University of Cambridge before joining the Wellcome Foundation in London. From 2001 to 2007 he was director of strategy in immunology at GlaxoSmithKline, a leading multinational healthcare company.

He is a fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists, has served on UK government international vaccine missions and published numerous articles in leading journals such as Nature, Science and the Lancet. His interests center on the importance of storytelling in scientific discovery and the origins of curiosity,  imagination and creativity. Married with two daughters, he lives and works in Cambridge, UK.”

You can check out How To Make A Vaccine on Amazon, or John’s bio page on The Science Factory.

300: Declarative Energy And Starting From A Previous Base

Welcome to episode 300 of the show~. We have come far, and learned a lot along the way. This one includes discussion about the value of declarative energy, as well as how we are not starting from scratch whenever we do something. Enjoy, and onward we go.

299: Elizabeth S. Anderson | Philosophy, Ethics, Private Government And Viewpoints

Professor Elizabeth S. Anderson joins us on episode 299 of the show, as we make our way to the 300s. She is an American philosopher, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and John Dewey Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan and specializes in topics including political philosophy and ethics.

Anderson received a B.A. with high honors in philosophy with a minor in economics from Swarthmore College in 1981. In 1987 Anderson completed a Ph.D. in Philosophy at Harvard University. She was a visiting instructor of philosophy at Swarthmore College 1985–86 and took up a position at the University of Michigan in 1987. She was Associate Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies 1993–1999 and was promoted to professor in 1999.

In 1994, she was named Arthur F. Thurnau Professor to recognize her dedication to undergraduate education with a demonstrable impact on the intellectual development and lives of her students. In 2005 she was named John Rawls Collegiate Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies, and in 2013 the John Dewey Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies.

We discussed philosophical points, some topics from her book Private Government, and some from her upcoming book as well. You can check out her material on Wikipedia, her faculty page, or look at Private Government on Amazon.

298: Carl Zimmer | Exploration Of What Being Alive Means In “Life’s Edge”

We have guest Carl Zimmer returning to the show, with his new book Life’s Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive. He first joined on episode 207 of the show to discuss his previous book She Has Her Mother’s Laugh, and has written numerous books in the science category.

Carl is “a popular science writer, blogger, columnist, and journalist who specializes in the topics of evolution, parasites, and heredity. The author of many books, he contributes science essays to publications such as The New York Times, Discover, and National Geographic. He is a fellow at Yale University’s Morse College and adjunct professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University. Zimmer also gives frequent lectures and has appeared on many radio shows, including National Public Radio’s Radiolab, Fresh Air, and This American Life.”

You can check him out on Twitter, check out Life’s Edge on Amazon, or check out his New York Times articles.

297: Susan Liautaud | Ethical Decision-Making Through Six Forces Detailed In “The Power Of Ethics”

What kind of power does ethics hold, and does the law lag behind where ethics can be in the current moment? What kind of ethical questions should we ask ourselves before making important decisions? Dr. Susan Liautaud covers these topics in her latest book The Power of Ethics: How to Make Good Choices in a Complicated World.

Dr. Susan Liautaud teaches cutting-edge ethics courses at Stanford University, serves as Chair of Council of the London School of Economics and Political Science, and is the founder of the nonprofit platform The Ethics Incubator. She is also the founder and managing director of Susan Liautaud & Associates Limited, which advises clients from global corporations to NGOs on complex ethics matters.

She holds a PhD in Social Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science; a JD from Columbia University Law School; a M.A. in Chinese Studies from University of London School of Oriental and African Studies; and a M.A. and two B.A.s from Stanford University. Susan also serves on the advisory board of the McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society at Stanford.

You can check out The Power of Ethics on Amazon, look at Dr. Liautaud’s Stanford page, check out her website founder page, or follow her on Twitter @SusanLiautaud.

296: Yancey Strickler | The Bento Society, Kickstarter, And “This Could Be Our Future”

Can we as people come together to think beyond the short term? Do we have the capacity to make a decade or two from now as important as next week? It is up to us to go “Beyond a Near-term Orientation”, and that is what Bentoism is about. It was created by Yancey Strickler, co-founder of Kickstarter, and author of This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World.

“Yancey is a Distinguished Fellow at the Drucker Institute and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. He cofounded the artist resource The Creative Independent, the record label eMusic Selects, and is an angel investor in startups including Hopin, Mati, Realtime, System, and Wren. Yancey began his career as a music critic in New York City writing for Pitchfork, Spin, and The Village Voice, and grew up on a farm in Clover Hollow, Virginia. He lives with his family in Vancouver, British Columbia.”

You can check out This Could Be Our Future on Amazon, The Bento Society homepage, or follow Yancey on Twitter (@ystrickler). You can also check out The Ideaspace substack, as well as the podcast.

295: Mauro F. Guillén | The Biggest Trends Of Today, Progressing Toward “2030”

Welcome to episode 295 of the show, the first of 2021, with Professor Mauro F. Guillén. As a future-oriented person, discussing the upcoming trends leading us toward 10 years from now is something I am interested in. These trends are covered in 2030: How Today’s Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future of Everything.

Professor Guillen is “a Spanish/American sociologist, political economist, management educator, Zandman Professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Director of the Penn Lauder Center for International Business Education and Research.”

As well, “An expert on global market trends, he is a sought-after speaker and consultant. He combines his training as a sociologist at Yale and as a business economist in his native Spain to methodically identify and quantify the most promising opportunities at the intersection of demographic, economic, and technological developments. His online classes on Coursera and edX have attracted over 100,000 participants from around the world.”

You can check out 2030 on Amazon.

294: Closing Out 2020 With The Year In Review

We start from one place and end up at another. In this episode, we close out 2020 with a last episode of the year, bringing us to 52 episodes for the 52-week year~. Here, I discuss the guests we’ve had on in 2020, concepts they brought up, and some takeaways for all of you.

293: Richard Coss | Behavioral Ecology, Predator Recognition, And Perceptual System Development

Welcome to episode 293 of the show, with Professor Richard Coss of the University of California, Davis. From his educational transitions to life transitions, he has covered a variety of disciplines, and looks at key elements of animal behavior and predator activity.

Of his biography, “Dr. Coss is an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and a faculty member of UC Davis’ Graduate Group in Animal Behavior and Graduate Group in Ecology. Dr. Coss serves as a member of a number of professional organizations, including the Animal Behavior Society, the International Society for Ecological Psychology, and the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology. Dr. Coss also served on the Editorial Advisory Board for Behavioral and Neural Biology.”

From his description, “Dr. Coss has two primary research interests, both of which emphasize evolutionary constraints on perceptual and cognitive processes in humans and other species. The first research area examines issues in the behavioral ecology of small mammals. His research typically examines population differences, predator-prey relations, habitat perception, and social communication. Behavioral development in field and laboratory conditions is a consistent theme throughout his experimental studies; Pthis developmental theme is sometimes complemented with neuro-biological measures. The second program of study concentrates on the development of aesthetic preferences and how these preferences are constrained by human evolutionary history. Research on this topic emphasizes visual perception and creativity and often includes cross-cultural comparisons.”

You can check out Professor Coss’ material on his faculty page.

292: John Harte | Ecology, Climate Change, Biodiversity, And Complex Systems At The Harte Lab

Hello to all of you, and welcome to episode 292 of the show, with Professor John Harte of The Harte Lab at UC Berkeley. Focusing on biodiversity, climate change, complex systems, ecology, and policy analysis, Professor Harte and his lab members tackle a range of issues.

Professor Harte is an ecologist and Professor of the Graduate School in the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California at Berkeley. “Harte received his B.A. from Harvard University in 1961 and his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Wisconsin in 1965. He was an Assistant Professor of Physics at Yale University from 1968-1973. During his time at Yale, he transitioned into the study of theoretical ecology, and joined the UC Berkeley faculty as an ecologist in the Energy and Resources Group in 1973.”

“His work spans a range of scales, from plot to landscape to global, and utilizes field manipulation experiments, the study of patterns in nature, and mathematical modeling. Two specific goals are to understand the nature and causes of patterns in the distribution and abundance of species and to understand the extent to which ecosystem responses to climate change may result in feedbacks to climate that can either ameliorate or exacerbate global warming. An overarching goal of his research is to understand the interdependence of human well-being and the health of ecosystems.”

You can check out Professor Harte’s faculty page, as well as The Harte Lab website.

291: Brennan Spiegel | The Coming Age Of Virtual Therapeutics In “VRx”

Where will virtual therapeutics take healthcare in upcoming years? Dr. Brennan Spiegel, MD, MSHS, gastroenterologist at Cedars-Sinai, writes about this in his book VRx: How Virtual Therapeutics Will Revolutionize Medicine. Directing the Center for Outcomes Research and Education at Cedars, he guides investigation of the application of digital health technologies, which include wearable biosensors, smartphone applications, virtual reality and social media.

Dr. Spiegel is editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Gastroenterology, the leading clinical gastroenterology journal in North America. He has also published “numerous best-selling medical textbooks, editorials and more than 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals. He is listed in the Onalytica ‘Top 100 Influencer’ lists for digital health (No. 13) and virtual reality (No. 14). His digital health research has been featured by major media outlets, including NBC News, PBS, Forbes, Bloomberg, NPR and Reuters.”

290: Continual Branching | The Many Ways To Reach Outward

Welcome to episode 290 of The Armen Show Podcast. This one is about the value of branching out in daily times, and different ways you can branch out in your own life.

Adding a little variation to your day can be all you need to keep it interesting. This can be in the form of music, colors used in note-taking, paths taken to travel, locations visited, foods tried, people reached out to, and more.